ST. LOUIS – The Missouri History Museum is showcasing a unique exhibit that delves into a less-told part of St. Louis’s history. Since the late 1800s, the museum has been a local hub for history. Now, it presents an exhibit highlighting the LGBTQIA+ community’s impact on the city.

The exhibit traces back to 1904, when the St. Louis World’s Fair was held. During this time, the book “The Story of a Life” by Claude Harlandy was published. It is one of the first autobiographies about life as part of the LGBTQIA+ community in St. Louis.

Ian Darnell, the Assistant Curator of the LGBTQIA+ Collection, explained the significance of the exhibit. “This exhibit shows that LGBTQIA+ people are woven through the entire history of the city,” he said. Darnell has spent the past decade uncovering this history. “You can’t really tell that history in a complete, full, truthful way without including the experiences, the struggles, the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ people.”

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The Gateway to Pride exhibit at the Missouri History Museum features over 150 historical items, including costumes and interactive experiences like dancing under disco balls. It offers a new perspective on American and St. Louis history by highlighting how LGBTQIA+ people experienced and shaped events.

Adrienne Sharp, the Managing Director of Communications, discussed a special feature of the exhibit. “This is the Memorial Lou, and it’s an opportunity for our visitors to come in and really pay homage to the people they love, and the memories they have with the LGBTQIA+ community.”

The exhibit educates visitors about the LGBTQIA+ acronym and showcases the resilience, contributions, and struggles of LGBTQIA+ people in St. Louis. Darnell noted, “This is the first time that the Missouri History Museum, in a really big and in-depth way, is exploring the LGBTQIA+ experience in St. Louis.”

Sharp added, “Ten years ago you never would have seen this, right? Look at the progress that’s been made. We’re now able to share these stories that have been hidden for so many years.”

The exhibit opens this weekend to kick off Pride Month and will run through June of next year. For more details, visit